Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saying Christians Must Give to Unbelievers Is Legalism

If the believer is to provide resources, apart from that believer becoming government to the unbeliever, why does the New Testament continually instruct Christians to give to other Christians? In other words, why are not all of these just general commands to take care of the poor? Why is the judgment of the Christian placed in terms of whether he has taken care of believers who represent Christ in Matthew 25? Why is the distinction between the children of God and the devil based upon believers taking care of brothers in Christ and not a distinction made between those who give to the poor in general and those who don't? Why does James tell us that taking care of poor believers among us true religion and the genuine outworking of living faith, and not that taking care of anyone who is poor is true religion and the genuine outworking of living faith? Why are the Acts believers sharing to the point that there is no one in need among them, and not for the poor of the general population? Why does Paul say we should work hard so that anyone in need in the Body of Christ might be cared for, and he does not say that we should work hard so that anyone in need in the larger community can be cared for? Why is the injured man in the parable of the Good Samaritan not a Gentile unbeliever if it is to make the point that the recipients of kingdom resources can be anyone, believer or unbeliever?

My point is that the Bible only does this because fulfilling the law of loving my neighbor as myself is all fulfilled in how one treats a fellow believer. If it was desired by God that we use Christian resources to give to the unbeliever, one would think that would have been clearly expressed in these commands, and there would be no limitation to Christians in the commands themselves. The fact that they do not generalize says something.

If I tell my kids to take out our garbage, it may not logically exclude them taking out the next door neighbor's garbage, but it certainly is not implied in the command. Instead, if that is all I ever tell them to do, without telling them to do the other, it is certainly implied that I do not require them to take out the next door neighbor's garbage. And this is especially so, if I only punish them for not taking out our garbage, and never say I'm going to punish them for not taking out our next door neighbor's garbage. My desires for them are displayed in the limitations of the command. To add to this command would actually be a form of legalism, as it adds to the command what God does not require Himself.

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